Future Voices – London

The London cohort for Future Voices will be led by Poetic Unity – a Brixton based charity that provides support and services for children and young people aged 10-30 years old across the UK. Thier vision is to help young people find their voice, feel valued in society and to empower them to reach their highest potential. They use poetry as a tool to support young people’s mental health, education, personal development, physical health, and community cohesion. The cohort are as follows:

Isaac looks sideways, with short afro hair and shaved beard. Wearing a tartan shirt under a cream jumper, against floral and blue backgroud

Isaac Izekor

I used to consider myself the scientific sort but one year of medical school convinced me otherwise. 

The year wasn’t a waste though. I learnt that dissection really isn’t a pub conversation, medical students are definitely insane.
And that empathy is never cheap, but it’s always worth it. Now I listen for a living and try to craft stories worthy of what I hear.

Sofe has a short mullet, wearing anatomical heart earrings, black t-shirt on a green background

sofe barker

S-bars (they/them) is a queer Spoken Word, Movement and Drag artist from the UK. Their work is often raw, reflective and comedic. Catering to all audiences, their work empowers listeners and leaves you wanting more. 

As well as performing at Prides across the UK, S-bars regularly features and headlines at events. They’ve performed and facilitated writing and poetry workshops for the likes of VMLY&R, We Out Here festival, The University of East London, The London Library and many more. 

Having recently placed as a Finalist at ‘Not Another Drag Competition’ where they merged their favourite art forms: Spoken word and movement, they hope to continue to create work which is powerful, healing and fun. 

Garfar wears his hair braided and pulled back, and white polo type shirt with gold pendant necklace. Sunset in background against trees and mountain.

Gafar Fashola

Gafar is a Nigerian born poet who grew up in the heart of South London. 
Gafar is a contemporary poet who uses raw emotions and profound insights, with a gift for crafting elaborate verses that delve deep into the human experience. 

Gafar moved to the UK at the age of 5 , and throughout the years developed a keen sense of observation and a thirst for understanding the complexities of human relationships. This early exposure to both diversity and adversity served as the fertile ground upon which his poetic journey would take root.

Gafar’s poetry is characterized by its unapologetic honesty and its fearless exploration of topics often left unspoken. He uses his verses to shine a light on the pressing social issues of our time, exploring issues from systemic inequalities to mental health challenges. His words are a call to action, urging society to reflect and effect change.

Jasmin has mid length brown hair, smiling, wearing an open blue shirt

Jasmin Thien

Jasmin (she/her) is a fully blind actor, writer, poet and stand-up comedian of Chinese heritage. Born and raised in Brunei, she came to the UK at age 21 and earned a first-class honours degree in Education, English, Drama and the Arts from the University of Cambridge. Her work is often drawn from her personal experiences of being disabled, BIPOC, an immigrant and a woman. She is especially passionate about disentangling intersectional narratives and asking difficult questions in ways that are nuanced and truthful while remaining accessible to all.

Jasmin is proud to have been an artist in residence with Apples and Snakes for Spine Festival, and a poet on the Diversifying Children’s Literature Programme led by Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho. She is currently developing a one-woman show called I Dream in Colour documenting her and her family’s journey with blindness which will be debuting as part of the Bloomsbury Festival this October (2023).

Blaize has twisted braids that are chin length, a gem stone earring and dark grey top against a dark blue background

Blaize Alexis-Anglin

Blaize is a talented actor and poet based in North London. Blaize had a talent for capturing the depths of human emotion. His introspective poetry is a reflection of the struggles and triumphs we all face.

Blaize is an artist who’s work is deeply rooted in human experience and explores themes of self-doubt, love, loss and culture with dynamic wordplay.

Obinna has short shaved head and landscaped beard, wearing a dark grey woollen shirt.

Obinna Iwuji

I am a spoken word artist using poetry as an excuse for my love of talking :D. I use storytelling and information design to shift perspectives and illustrate being in the process of making progress.

Mariah smiles, wearing her dark curly hair down. She is wearing a wool grey and black blazer, and black tshirt with a silver bracelette

Mariah Wilde

Mariah, known as Riah Writes, is a devoted mental health professional by day and a blossoming poet by night, on a mission to merge artistry with healing. Her poetic journey, though in its infancy, has become a sanctuary for exploring healing and self-discovery. 

Mariah is exploring the interplay of creativity, mental health, and wellness in her verses. She seeks to illuminate the dance between the mind and the muse, providing companionship to anyone navigating their mental wellness journeys. 

Her commitment to using words for healing extends beyond her writing. She has led well-being and writing workshops for organisations like LUSH, The Body Shop, charities, churches, and local councils. Her talks blend therapeutic knowledge with poetic inspiration, addressing vital topics such as race and social justice. 

Mariah’s written works also live in the pages of poetry anthologies, offering gentle guides for self-care and introspection. As a published writer in online magazines and journals, she continues to embrace the ever-evolving intersection of creativity and mental health.

Mariah is thrilled to join this year’s Future Voices Cohort with Apples and Snakes. With her love of visual arts, she aims to infuse new colours into her words, welcome friendships, and absorb new skills.

Instagram: @riah_writes

Binta wears white lace gloves with one arm above and one below face. Frosted blue eye shadow and long braided hair

Binta Yade

My name is Binta and I’m a spoken word artist, audio content producer and artist. My work revolves mostly around sense of self, ancestry, inner growth and our relationships with others. These are all things i’ve thought about a lot in my own personal journey over the past few years and so writing has been a release for me. It’s like second nature to me. My hope is that my work resonates with people and puts words to feelings and situations that people know but can’t explain. My hope is that in reading my work, people feel seen and heard.